Pan-seared filet mignon is the perfect meal for date night or Sunday dinner at home. Tender filet mignon is lightly seasoned, seared in a cast iron skillet, and finished in the oven.
No need to go to a fancy restaurant for a good meal - make your next steak dinner at home. Pan-seared filet mignon is an impressive main course that's surprisingly simple to prepare in less than 30 minutes.
Using a cast iron pan adds a beautiful sear to the outside of your steaks (I also use this method in my recipe for pan-seared ribeye). Plus, it's easy to transfer to the oven to finish cooking. Your steak turns out juicy and tender inside, with a deep brown crust on the outside.
Serve pan-seared filet mignon for your next date night at home, Valentine's day, anniversary dinner, or just because. Pair with your favorite side dishes, like bacon garlic mashed potatoes and parmesan brussels sprouts, for a complete meal.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Filet mignon - You'll need two filet mignon steaks, anywhere from six to ten ounces each and about 1.5 to 2 inches thick, for this recipe. If using a larger skillet, you may fit up to four steaks at a time.
- Seasoning - Salt and pepper lightly season your steaks.
- Oil - Choose an oil with a high smoke point, which is ideal for searing steaks at a high temperature. Any oil with a smoke point over 400 degrees Fahrenheit will work, like canola oil, ghee, vegetable oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil.
Pan for searing steaks
For this recipe, you'll need a cast-iron pan or stainless steel pan. Choose a pan that can withstand high heat, which is best for getting a nice sear on your steaks. I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet for two filets (as shown in the photos).
I do not recommend non-stick pans because they can become damaged when sitting on high heat for long periods of time. Plus, nonstick pans are generally not ideal for oven use.
Oil for searing steaks
When searing steaks, you'll need an oil with a high smoke point. This means that your oil can withstand higher temperatures without smoking or burning.
I recommend canola oil, peanut oil, ghee, or any oil with a smoke point over 400 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. While I normally use olive oil and butter in my cooking, I do not recommend either for this recipe.
Here's a great article breaking down the smoke points of many popular oils: Cooking Oils and Smoke Points: What to Know and How to Choose the Right Cooking Oil
Frequently asked questions
- How long should you cook each side of a filet mignon? To get a good sear, I recommend cooking each side of your steak for 3 minutes before transferring to the oven to finish cooking.
- How do you get a good sear on a steak? Preheat your cast iron skillet for 3 or 4 minutes over medium to medium-high heat. Add oil and tilt your pan to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot and shimmering (but not smoking), add your steaks. Set a timer for 3 minutes and resist the urge to move or flip your steaks early. A hot, preheated pan and a full 3 minutes of contact with the pan will give your steaks a perfect sear.
- Is pan-searing better than grilling? This is a personal preference. Pan-searing is easy to do inside your home all year long. If weather is less than ideal, you may not want to pull the grill out. Plus, pan searing gives your steak that golden crust and perfect sear on both sides, something you miss out on when grilling. However, grilling uses less oil. If you're trying to reduce fat in your diet, grilling may be a better option for you. Both methods have their benefits.
- How many times should I flip my steak? There's no need to continually flip your steaks in the pan. Sear the first side for 3 minutes, then flip once and sear the second side for 3 minutes.
- How long do I rest a steak after cooking? For a 1.5 inch steak, I'd recommend resting for about 5 to 7 minutes. For a 2 inch thick steak, rest for 10 minutes. Steak needs to rest after cooking because it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Slicing into piping hot steak causes the juices to flow right out, leaving you with a dry piece of meat.
- How do I tell when my steak is done? I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to test for doneness. It is the most reliable and failproof way to ensure your steak turns out perfectly every time. I use a thermometer like this (Amazon: ThermaPro Probe Meat Thermometer) in the oven, which beeps when it reaches the set temperature. You could also open the oven and carefully use an instant read thermometer like this (Amazon: Thermopro Digital Meat Thermometer).
- What is the ideal temperature for a filet mignon? Filet mignon is a lean cut of meat, which means it can quickly become tough and chewy if overcooked. I recommend anywhere from rare to medium doneness for a filet mignon. I've also included a temperature chart in the recipe card below.
- Rare: 125 degrees
- Medium-rare: 135 degrees
- Medium: 145 degrees
What to serve with filet mignon
Filet mignon is a lean meat that pairs well with flavorful sauces and toppings, as well as a variety of side dishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Sauces and toppings:
- Creamy mushroom sauce
- Roasted garlic and herb compound butter
- Steak butter
- Creamy peppercorn sauce
- Red wine steak sauce
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Bacon garlic mashed potatoes
- Sautéed garlic butter shrimp
- Lemon parmesan asparagus
- Maple bacon brussels sprouts
- Green beans and onions
- Chopped kale avocado salad
Pan-Seared Filet Mignon
- 2 8-ounce filet mignon, 1.5 to 2 inches thick
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, or ghee
- Remove steaks from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper, gently pressing seasoning into the steaks. Add more salt and pepper as desired.
- Once pan is hot, add cooking oil, tilting pan to coat the entire bottom of the pan. When hot and shimmering, add steaks to pan, making sure they do not touch each other.
- Set a timer and sear first side for 3 minutes. Flip and sear second side for 3 minutes.
- Transfer cast iron skillet to preheated oven. Bake until desired doneness is achieved (using temperature chart below).
- Cooking times for steak vary based on the thickness, size, and shape of your steak (this may take anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes). For best success, I suggest using a meat thermometer. Remove steak from the oven when temperature reaches 5 degrees below your desired doneness in the center. Steak will continue to cook slightly as it rests. Temperatures are listed in Fahrenheit:- Rare: 125 degrees (remove at 120 degrees) - Medium-rare: 135 degrees (remove at 130 degrees)- Medium: 145 degrees (remove at 140 degrees)- Medium-well: 150 degrees (remove at 145 degrees)
- Transfer steaks from pan to a plate. Rest by covering loosely with foil for five minutes before serving.
- If your steaks are less than 1 inch thick, there's no need to finish them in the oven - skip this step.
- If you don't have a cast iron pan, I recommend using an oven-safe stainless steel pan. I do not recommend using nonstick cookware for searing steaks.
- Here is a great resource to visualize the degrees of doneness for your steak: Degree of Doneness - Certified Angus Beef
- Use an oil with a high smoke point for pan-searing steaks. I recommend canola oil, peanut oil, ghee, or vegetable oil. I do not recommend butter or olive oil.
- Kitchen safety - Use discretion when heating up pans and oil on the stovetop. Stovetop temperatures vary based on brand. Keep an eye on your steaks and don't walk away. Use an overhead exhaust fan to help ventilate your kitchen while searing steaks.